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Chapter 1

Discussion Questions

  1. In his TED Talk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLbEKpL-5Z0), Brian Epstein argues that there are two types of questions that scientists ask, what is it questions, and how does it work questions. Which type does he believe that social scientists are not asking?
  2. The website http://www.sciencebuddies.org/engineering-design-process/engineering-design-compare-scientific-method.shtml distinguishes the scientific method from the engineering method. How to the methods differ?
  3. Go to the society portal of Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portal:Social_sciences) and choose the branches of geography category. How many different types of geography are listed?
  4. Take the survey about alcohol use at http://www.alcoholscreening.org/Home.aspx. After taking the survey, look at the feedback you are given based on your answers. What can the results for this survey be used for?
  5. In Steven Levitt’s defense of his abortion study, what was one of the alternative suggestions for the increase in crime? (http://freakonomics.com/2005/05/15/abortion-and-crime-who-should-you-believe/) What was the alternative argument that critics use to explain why the crime rate has decreased? Did Levitt agree with the alternative argument?

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Chapter 2

Discussion Questions

  1. Read the short essay http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2002/05/27/MN226754.DTL. What are some of the examples given as evidence for punctuated equilibrium? Is one mechanism of evolution singled out for these cases?
  2. Pick one of the articles about a recent discovery in paleoanthropology listed on http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/recent.html.What was found? Where was it found?
  3. Go to http://www.livescience.com/11317-top-10-useless-limbs-vestigial-organs.html and watch the video. What are homologous structures? What are vestigial organs?
  4. According to the information at http://discovermagazine.com/2006/apr/chimp-genome (accessed June 25, 2009), even though humans and chimps share 98.7 percent of their genes, what makes them so different?
  5. Go to http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=six-things-ben-stein-doesnt-want-you-to-know and watch the trailer to Ben Stein’s documentary, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed on Darwinism and what he considers the suppression of intelligent design. Is it an alternative to the theory of evolution, and how does the scientific community explain their dislike of this theory?
  6. In his TED Talk (http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/origin-species-making-theory), Jeffrey Sack describes how Darwin’s theory developed. What makes the theory of evolution by Darwin difficult to accept?

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Chapter 3

Discussion Questions

  1. Go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wL5CviNAhnk and watch the video. Compare aspects of everyday life in the Middle Ages to that in the Renaissance. What stereotypes exist concerning women in the Middle Ages, and where did these stereotypes originate?
  2. Go to http://industrialrevolution.sea.ca/impact.html and read about the industrial revolution. How did the social structure change during the Industrial Revolution?
  3. Read about the Black Plague at http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/plague.htm. What were the symptoms? How did people try to avoid the disease?
  4. Go to http://www.thenagain.info/WebChron/WestEurope/AgeRevs.html. What are the five major groupings in the Age of Revolutions (1763–1848)? Pick one and list the important events.
  5. Go to http://www.extension.harvard.edu/open-learning-initiative/ancient-greek-civilization. Read about the ancient Greek civilization of the Mycenea. How did this civilization fall?

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Chapter 4

Discussion Questions

  1. The site http://www.toolpack.com/culture.html discusses cultural change at the organizational (business) level. What is organizational culture? Name the four companies used as examples of successful cultures.
  2. Look through the website for the United States Golf Association (http://www.usga.org/). Is the USGA a social institution? Do golfers comprise a society?
  3. Go to http://www.change.org and watch part one of the video about the Navajo. What resulted from the interaction of Anglo-American and Navajo cultures? What term from this chapter best illustrates the views of Civil War general William Sherman and the actions of the U.S. government concerning the education of Navajo children?
  4. Go to http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/french-phrases.html and read some of the French phrases that have become commonly used in English. Do you think this is an example of cultural diffusion? Give your own example of cultural diffusion.
  5. Read the article at http://www.irespect.net/Untold Stories/Chinese/Chinese Values.htm on Chinese social values. Whose teachings largely influence these values? Are there values that Chinese and American cultures share?
  6. In his TED Talk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48RoRi0ddRU), Michael Gavin discusses cultural diversity. How does cultural diversity impact contemporary society?

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Chapter 5

Discussion Questions

  1. Go to an atlas site (for example http://www.atlapedia.com/), and look at a country or region. Look at its physical and political map. What borders it? Which borders are natural?
  2. Do an Internet search for kudzu. What is it? What are its benefits and what are its harms to the southeastern United States?
  3. What does the UN see as a significant constraint on women’s rights in its Progress of the World’s Women Report at http://progress.unwomen.org/?
  4. Go to www.geohive.com/earth. Looking at the latest figures for populations of countries by sex, what two countries have the highest percentage of females? Of males?
  5. What is the ozone layer according to the EPA (https://www.epa.gov/ozone-pollution)? What is today’s UV index value for your zip code (www.epa.gov/sunwise/uvindex.html)?
  6. In his TED Talk (http://www.environmentandsociety.org/mml/jared-diamond-why-societies-collapse), Jared Diamond provides inputs into the question “Why do societies collapse?” What role does the environment play in changing societies?

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Chapter 6

Discussion Questions

  1. Using the website http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/brooklynbridge.htm, learn about the technical problems faced in constructing the Brooklyn bridge. How did the builders overcome these difficulties?
  2. Go to http://www.usbr.gov/projects and look up the Hoover Dam. How large is the structure? Where is it located and when was it built?
  3. Go to http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=19174580 and either read the article or listen to it. Who makes Blu-ray discs? What new technology may make Blu-ray discs obsolete? What earlier formatting war is mentioned in the article, and which brand came out on top then?
  4. Go to http://www.triviaplaza.com/inventors-1-quiz/ and take the quiz. How do you score?
  5. Go to http://www.reuters.com/news/pictures/slideshow?articleId=USRTXRKSI - a=10. What country emits the most greenhouse gases per year? Now go to http://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/impacts/index.html. What are some of the consequences of climate change?
  6. In his TED Talk (https://www.ted.com/talks/jason_pontin_can_technology_solve_our_big_problems?language=en), Jason Pontin asks the question “Can technology solve our big problems?” Do you think technology will offer solutions to societal major problems? Why or why not?

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Chapter 7

Discussion Questions

  1. Jung was a psychologist and a peer of Freud. The site http://www.terrapsych.com/jungdefs.html has a glossary of Jungian terms. What is an Electra complex?
  2. The site http://www.psych.umn.edu/psylabs/mtfs/special.htm is about home schooling/socialization debates. Go to Stough, 1992. According to Stough’s research, does home schooling limit socialization?
  3. Go to https://mctfr.psych.umn.edu/ to answer the question: As twins grow older, do they become less similar to one another?
  4. Take a free IQ test, such as that found at http://www.intelligencetest.com. What aspect of intelligence do you believe the test is designed to evaluate? What other aspects of knowledge are there?
  5. Pick a child from the list on http://archive.is/6LohO. What or who was the caregiver? Do you believe the story? For all the children listed, what was the most common caregiver? Where would she or he most likely be from?
  6. In his TED Talk (https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_gilbert_you_are_always_changing?language=en), Dan Gilbert argues that our beliefs about what will make us happy are often wrong. What ideas does he provide on the psychology of your future self?

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Chapter 8

Discussion Questions

  1. What is the difference between a norm and a more? http://sociology.about.com/od/Deviance/a/Folkways-Mores-Taboos-And-Laws.htm
  2. Does Ice T’s “Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It” video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzeZhCt5PVA) serve a useful social purpose? If so, what is that purpose?
  3. What is an example of a Class I felony? http://www.courtregistry.org/criminal_court_records/felonies/felony_class/
  4. What is an alternative to imprisonment suggested by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (https://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp/criminal-justice-reform)?
  5. Go the Jon Stewart’s interview of Edward Conlon on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3bR_Cbngzc). At what age does Conlon say that cops stop being cool in minority areas?
  6. In her TED Talk (https://www.ted.com/talks/anne_milgram_why_smart_statistics_are_the_key_to_fighting_crime?language=en), Anne Milgram argues that criminal justice systems use instinct and experience to make decisions and not data. Why are smart statistics the key to fighting crime and making the right decision on the life of a criminal?

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Chapter 9

Discussion Questions

  1. Go to the site http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/family-tech/tech-effects-on-family/5-ways-technology-has-negatively-affected-families.htm. What are the top five ways that technology has affected families today?
  2. Go to the website http://www.statehealthfacts.org/comparemaptable.jsp?ind=37&cat=2. What does miscegenation mean? When did the first U.S. law appear against miscegenation? When did the Supreme Court decide Loving v. Virginia?
  3. Go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mv4uSyXVK-0 and watch the video on genealogy and DNA. How can DNA be used by genealogists or people interested in their own ancestry? Can DNA be used to identify specific ancestors like Alexander the Great or Genghis Khan?
  4. Go to http://www.npr.org/news/specials/gaymarriage/map/ and look at the map and the articles under related content. What is the only non-Northeastern state that allows gay marriage? Which state most recently allowed gay marriage? For each state, did the courts or new legislation (voted on by the state congress) legalize gay marriage?
  5. From http://www.census.gov/prod/3/98pubs/p20-506u.pdf go to Table C4. How many children live in an extended family with one or both of their parents and at least one of their grandparents? How many live with their grandparent(s) without either of their parents present?
  6. In his TED Talk (http://www.npr.org/2015/04/24/401744550/how-can-kids-help-parents-manage-their-family), Bruce Feiler argues that today’s parents are stressed and overwhelmed. What suggestions does he offer for drawing families closer? What role do children play in helping parents manage their lives? 

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Chapter 10

Discussion Questions

  1. Go to http://www.dalailama.com. What is a Dalai Lama? Who is the current Dalai Lama?
  2. Using information found in http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0193627.html, explain what the Dead Sea Scrolls are. Who wrote them?
  3. Who were the Knights Templar, according to http://www.knightstemplar.org/? What was their original purpose?
  4. Go to http://www.pbs.org/mormons/etc/genealogy.html. Why are Mormons so interested in genealogy?
  5. According to the site http://www.pewforum.org/2015/04/02/religious-projections-2010-2050/, Christianity will remain the largest religious group in the world. What religion is projected to grow faster than any other major religion by the year 2050?
  6. In his TED Talk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6dCxo7t_aE), John Bellaimey summarized the major teachings of the five major world religions. Is religion still relevant today in the face of science?

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Chapter 11

Discussion Questions

  1. According to http://www.ericdigests.org/1995-1/multicultural.htm, what are the three basic types of multicultural education programs and what is the focus of each?
  2. Go to www.amshq.org/. What is the Montessori approach to education?
  3. The National Center for Policy Analysis, http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba602, finds Hispanic dropout rates extraordinarily high; what is blamed?
  4. Go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dAujuqCo7s and watch the video or just listen to the song. What current education policy is being criticized? Name three criticisms of this policy.
  5. Go to https://www.edreform.com/2012/03/just-the-faqs-charter-schools/. According to the Center for Educational Reform, what are charter schools?
  6. In her TED Talk (https://www.ted.com/talks/rita_pierson_every_kid_needs_a_champion?language=en), Rita Pierson discusses the importance of relationship to students’ learning and performance. What role do champions in schools play in the lives of students?

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Chapter 12

Discussion Questions

  1. Using http://www.hindunet.org/varna, list the four social orders in India’s caste system. In ancient India, were people born into their caste?
  2. Looking at the poverty guidelines of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/index.shtml, what is the most recent poverty threshold for a family of six? In Alaska?
  3. Go to http://www.usgs.gov/humancapital/hr/upwardmobility.html, the site of the United States Geological Survey, Upward Mobility Program. What is the purpose of this program?
  4. Go to http://www.salary.com/ and use the Salary Wizard. In your area, what is the income range for the middle 50 percent of teacher’s aides? What is the range for associate professors of economics?
  5. Using the information found at http://www.census.gov/did/www/saipe/, what statistics does the program produce for all individual counties of the United States?
  6. In his TED Talk (https://www.ted.com/talks/richard_wilkinson?language=en), Richard Wilkinson argues that societies are healthier when income gaps are at a minimal. In what ways do economic inequalities impact individuals in societies?

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Chapter 13

Discussion Questions

  1. What is the National LGBT Bar Association (www.lgbtbar.org)?
  2. Go to http://www.eeoc.gov/, the website of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. What is their latest news announcement?
  3. Go to http://www.newsweek.com/id/141165 and read the article. What group is the most satisfied in the military? How does this compare to civilian occupations? What is the likely reason for these results?
  4. The Arab American Institute (http://www.aaiusa.org/) identifies some famous Americans of Arab descent. List the names familiar to you, perhaps through sports or entertainment.
  5. Based on http://www.hrw.org/news,what does the Human Rights Watch organization list as one of the issues involving the United States and human rights?
  6. In her TED Talk (https://www.ted.com/talks/thandie_newton_embracing_otherness_embracing_myself?language=en), Thandie Newton discusses “Embracing otherness, embracing myself” in addressing minorities’ place in our societies. How have minorities struggled to address the issue of race in dominant white society?

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Chapter 14

Discussion Questions

  1. Go to the Frontiers of Freedom website http://www.ff.org/.What is their mission statement?
  2. May 4 marks two different riots/protests in the United States that ended in tragedy. What were the two riots? In each riot, who was protesting, and why were they protesting? What went wrong? http://www.google.com/ http://www.bing.com/
  3. Looking at the Homeland Security threat and protection information at http://www.dhs.gov/index.shtm, what alert status are we in right now, and what does that mean?
  4. Who was Idi Amin? Go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCSpABIwY8s and watch the video.
  5. Take the “World’s Smallest Political Quiz” on the Libertarian Party website, http://www.theadvocates.org/quizp/index.html (accessed June 10, 2009). How do you score?
  6. In his TED Talk (https://www.ted.com/talks/ivan_krastev_can_democracy_exist_without_trust?language=en), Ivan Krastev addresses the topic of “Can democracy exist without trust?” To what extent is government transparency a key factor in ensuring that democracy works?

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Chapter 15

Discussion Questions

  1. Look at the composition of the French government on the embassy site http://www.ambafrance-us.org/spip.php?article615 (accessed June 11, 2009). What are the fourteen minister posts under the prime minister?
  2. Go to http://www.nigeriaembassyusa.org/index.php?page=test-sub. In terms of population, how does Nigeria rank compared to other African countries? How does it rank in terms of physical size?
  3. According to http://www.saudia-online.com/saudi_arabia.htm what does the legislative branch of Saudi Arabia’s government consist of?
  4. Go to http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/personoftheyear/ and watch TIME’s interview with Vladimir Putin. According to the reporter, why was Putin chosen as the 2007 TIME Person of the Year? According to Putin, what is a country’s sovereign right?
  5. Using the CIA World Factbook, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/ (accessed June 11, 2009), what are the administrative divisions of Mexico?
  6. In his TED Talk (https://www.ted.com/talks/david_rothkopf_how_fear_drives_american_politics?language=en),David Rothkopf argues that fear drives American politics. How has terrorism changed politics in Washington? To what extent is the dysfunction in Washington impacting normal functioning of the country?

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Chapter 16

Discussion Questions

  1. Go to the Federal Election Commission website (http://www.270towin.com). Which states have more than twenty electoral votes? Which states have fewer votes now than in 1990?
  2. Who are your present senators and in what year were they first elected? Check www.congress.org.
  3. Use http://www.supremecourthistory.org/ to find out: Who are the nine justices on the Supreme Court today?
  4. What is the Preamble to the United States Constitution? See http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html (accessed June 11, 2009).
  5. Using http://www.whitehouse.gov/ who is in the president’s advisory cabinet?
  6. In her TED Talk (https://www.ted.com/talks/manal_al_sharif_a_saudi_woman_who_dared_to_drive?language=en), Manal al-Sharif discusses the role of women and protection in Saudi Arabia. Should unwritten laws be obeyed? Should individuals be punished if they have not broken any written government law?

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Chapter 17

Discussion Questions

  1. Read about the experiences of laborers in early coalmines at http://www.saburchill.com/history/chapters/IR/039.html. How do working conditions then compare to those now? Are these working conditions an unavoidable result of laissez-faire capitalism?
  2. Using information found at http://www.auburn.edu/~johnspm/gloss/index.html, what is the definition of a black market?
  3. Go to http://www.spicker.uk/social-policy/wstate.htm and read about the welfare state. What lesson can be learned from Sweden’s experience?
  4. Using http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/10/1002_021002_indiabirds.html, what are the seven practices determined to be reasons for the large black market in exotic birds in India?
  5. Go to http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13743310. What does the article mean by the visible hand, and how does it relate to a pragmatic market economy?
  6. In his TED Talk (https://www.ted.com/talks/michael_sandel_why_we_shouldn_t_trust_markets_with_our_civic_life?language=en), Michael Sandel discusses market economy economies and their limitations. What is the role of governments in market economies?

Quiz

Chapter 18

Discussion Questions

  1. Go to http://www.taxadmin.org/, the website of the Federation of Tax Administrators. Does your state have an income tax? Using the latest figures, what is the lowest and highest income tax rate for your state? Is it a progressive tax system? Explain.
  2. Go to http://www.cbo.gov/, the site of the Congressional Budget Office. How much has been spent on Social Security benefits for the current fiscal year thus far? What percentage is that of the total government outlays?
  3. Go to https://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/rates/pd/avg/avg.htm, the site of the Bureau of the Public Debt. What is the current amount of the national debt? What is the interest expense for the latest month? For the last complete fiscal year?
  4. Using a quick calculator, http://www.ssa.gov/planners/calculators.htm, estimate your Social Security benefits with the information you have now.
  5. According to the Federal Reserve, http://www.federalreserve.gov/faqs.htm, what are its responsibilities?
  6. In her TED Talk (https://www.ted.com/talks/mariana_mazzucato_government_investor_risk_taker_innovator?language=en), Mariana Mazzucato argues that the government should get out of the way and let innovators do their job. How should innovations in society be supported?

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Chapter 19

Discussion Questions

  1. Pick a country to which you have never traveled. Using http://projectvisa.com/, find what type of travel visa you can get to enter the country and how to do so.
  2. Go to http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/charters.html. What does Article II, Section 2, clauses 1 and 2 of the United States Constitution state?
  3. Watch the YouTube video at http://www.cnn.com/videos/world/2015/09/01/china-military-explainer-ripley-orig.cnn.What references to geopolitics can be found in the video? Do you think this video demonstrates a return to a balance of power? Defend your answer.
  4. Using the website of the American Foreign Policy Council, http://www.afpc.org/, describe one of their latest news stories.
  5. Using the NATO site, http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/index.htm, what is the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, and how many members are there?
  6. In his TED Talk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66fn8cU9JXA), Kelly Keogh addresses the key to international relations post-9/11. How have foreign relations changed after 9/11? To what extent does the United States influence international political relations?

Quiz

Chapter 20

Discussion Questions

  1. Look up the exchange rate at http://www.economagic.com/fedstl.htm for U.S. dollars to the euro for the latest date and then for a year before. How did the rate change?
  2. From U.S. census data at http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/index.html, pick a country and find the U.S. trade balance with that country now, in 2008, and in 2000.
  3. Using http://dataweb.usitc.gov/scripts/tariff.asp, the U.S. International Trade Commission’s database, find out what the tariff is per liter of beer. Why are there two different tariff rates?
  4. Using http://data.worldbank.org/data-catalog/world-development-indicators, pick a country under Profile Tables. What are its exports and imports as a percentage of GDP for the latest year? What is the trend for the last three years? Compare it to another country.
  5. Go to http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/postglobal/america/2007/07/inside_an_indian_call_center.html, read the article, and watch the video. In a typical day, how many sales does a sales representative make? Would you be willing to work for $10 per day?
  6. In her TED Talk (http://ed.ted.com/on/G67NUF2V), Lisa Green developed the video that addresses issues in international economic relations. What are the advantages and disadvantages of international trade?

Quiz

Chapter 21

Discussion Questions

  1.  Go to http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/0,,pagePK:180619~theSitePK:136917,00.html and click on South Asia. What is the World Bank doing to promote growth and reduce poverty in the region?
  2. After watching Lennart Bage’s (President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development) video, http://www.ifad.org/operations/projects/regions/PI/BD_all.htm, what are the main reasons for supporting IFAP? Can you think of any costs?
  3. Go to http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/0,,pagePK:180619~theSitePK:136917,00.html and find Jamaica. According to the World Bank, what are three of Jamaica’s economic problems?
  4. Look at the UN page on identifying least developed countries at http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/policy/cdp/ldc/ldc_criteria.shtml. What are the criteria for determining if a country is an LDC? Which criterion do you think is most important?
  5. Go to the International Monetary Fund page, http://www.imf.org/external/np/exr/glossary/index.asp. What is the HIPC Initiative?
  6. Go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4x0_WXlC1Y. John Blackstone addresses the American brain drain problem. What are the challenges that face American universities in retaining the best science graduates from foreign countries?

Quiz

Chapter 22

Discussion Questions

  1. Go to http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/operations/current.shtml.What are the current UN peacekeeping operations?
  2. What is the mission statement of the International Committee of the Red Cross? Consult its website, www.icrc.org.
  3. According to Graça Machel, the UN expert on the impact of war on children (see http://www.unicef.org/graca/), why are children particularly vulnerable to land mines?
  4. According to Women Building Peace (http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources), what are some of the activities women can perform in order to work toward constructing peace?
  5. Using the International Peace Bureau site, http://www.ipb.org/, what is the Hague Appeal for Peace program?
  6. In his TED Talk (https://www.ted.com/talks/jason_mccue_terrorism_is_a_failed_brand?language=en), Jason McCue argues that “terrorism is failed brand.” What is the best way of handling the war of terrorism globally? Is technology assisting terrorists to win and making it difficult to be contained?

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